Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, any ITIN not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017.
If a taxpayer has an ITIN that is scheduled to expire and needs to file a tax return, it’s important not to delay. By submitting the application package in the next few weeks ITIN taxpayers may avoid unnecessary delays and allow for smoother and faster processing.
ITINs are used by people who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but who are not eligible for a Social Security Number. ITIN holders who have questions should visit the ITIN information page on IRS.gov and take a few minutes to understand the guidelines.
Who Should Renew an ITIN
Only ITIN holders who need to file a tax return in 2017 need to renew their ITINs. Taxpayers will need to have a current ITIN in order to file a federal return in 2017. Others do not need to take any action.
• Taxpayers with ITINs that haven’t been used on a federal income tax return in the last three years won’t be able to file a return unless their ITINs are renewed.
• ITINs with the middle digits 78 or 79 (xxx-78-xxxx; xxx-79-xxxx) need to be renewed even if the taxpayer has used it in the last three years. The IRS recently mailed more than 300,000 letters (also available in Spanish on IRS.gov) alerting taxpayers with ITINs with middle digits of 78 or 79 of the need to renew their ITINs.
How to Renew an ITIN
To renew an ITIN, a taxpayer must fill out a Form W-7 and submit all required documentation. There are three ways to submit the W-7 application package:
• Mail the Form W-7 — along with original identification documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them — to the IRS address listed on the Form W-7 instructions. The IRS will review the identification documents and return them within 60 days.
• Taxpayers have the option to work with Certified Acceptance Agents (CAAs) authorized by the IRS to help taxpayers apply for an ITIN. CAAs will review all documentation for a taxpayer and certify that an ITIN application is correct before submitting it to the IRS for processing. A CAA can also certify passports and birth certificates for dependents. This saves taxpayers from mailing original documents to the IRS.
• In advance, taxpayers can call and make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing original identification documents to the IRS.
A federal tax return need not be attached to the Form W-7 application if an ITIN is being renewed. However, taxpayers must still note a reason for needing an ITIN on the Form W-7. See the Form W-7 instructions for detailed information.